OK, first I have a confession. I am a New York Mets fan (all you other Mets fans can say “Hi, Frank” because admitting this addiction is hard considering the state of the team). Not only a Mets fan but one from birth. That means a limited amount of success (I was at Game 7 in 1986 at their old home Shea Stadium when they won their last World Series) and a lot of heartache (name just about any other day in any other season).
So I was pretty interested to get this email announcement from the team.
As a sports fan, it’s interesting to watch the intersection of the game and the communication with fans. There has never been more access to players than there is now through social media channels but where the real magic happens is when real people meet other real people in person for real.
I read a post recently by a social media giant who talked about how he doesn’t hang out with people that much locally because most of his friends are online. That is one of those interesting yet somewhat sad commentaries on what social media does. It can connect yet somewhat isolate people in the very same breath.
Sports, however, is all about the game and the experience. TV is good to follow an entire season, which I do from my home in the southeast through MLB’s Extra Inning package just to remind myself of the thrill of victory (on too rare an occasion) and the agony of defeat (in disproportionate amounts) of being a Mets fan. The best memories, at least for me, are tied to being in a seat at a ballpark taking in the experience. The smells, the people (sometimes one in the same), the game destination and more make it so much more real and memorable.
Now, if I choose to through social media, I could follow some of the goings on at Citi Field in Queens on Friday. I don’t follow athletes (it’s just not my style) but I may just for this event on Friday to see what is done to use social media to close the loop between fans, the in-stadium experience and a player.
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It’s good that social media can help share information. There is benefit to that. When it can enhance an experience that a person can have, however, at a live event then it is helping do more. It’s at this point that social media adds true value.
Of course, this kind of interaction isn’t confined to sporting events. The trick as marketers is to try to bring brands and otherwise ‘normal’ experiences to life through the use of social media. A brand would have a hard time creating the type of environment that a live event can unless of course they are connecting themselves to that event through sponsorship etc.
It’s this opportunity that makes the idea of sports sponsorships a whole new ballgame. No longer is it just putting a name on a stadium. Now, by having your brand there you can reach out to current and potential fans of your brand and get them when they are completely immersed in something special to them. As a marketer could you ask for anything more?
What other sports related uses of social media have caught your attention? Have any of these efforts ever helped you to decide to go to a game or interact in a new way with a team or a brand?